Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the Russian Government to force bookmakers to become sponsors of sporting events that involves Russian teams and athletes taking part in the event. The law is likely to be presented during the middle of this year.
In a document released by the official Kremlin website, it states: "The federal bill should envisage establishing duties of organizers of gambling activities in bookmakers' offices and betting terminals to channel part of the revenues from accepting bets for sports events with the participation of Russian teams and athletes, and for financing the activity of sports entities in the manner determined by the Government of the Russian Federation."
According to Leonid Fedun, oil tycoon and owner of Moscow's Spartak Football Club, the federal bill is aimed at adding revenue into the sport, especially that of football. "Let's look at the British Premier League, where every second team has a bookmaker as sponsor. The bookmaking business is booming. People spend a lot of money on bets, some of that money could be given to football clubs," said Fedun to TASS news agency.
Aleksandr Dyukov, president of Russian football club Zenit, if bookmakers would pay such duties, it would mean that Russian football can get an estimated sponsorship of 1.5 - 2 billion rubles per year.
It is estimated that the overall value of the Russian betting market is within 150 billion rubles (more than $2 billion) as of summer 2015 with around $35 million going to annual net profit, according to the Russian Ministry of Communications.
Currently, the country has 25 registered bookmakers. The Ministry of Finance proposed getting 13 percent from a gambler's winnings to serve as income tax should their earnings go beyond 4,000 rubles. Bookmakers are supposed to withhold the tax and later submit it to the appropriate governing body.
The Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport held a session on Dec. 8, 2015, discussing this very issue. Vitaliy Mutko, Russia's Sports Minister said that both bookmakers and betting operators do not pay any duties that will add fund to the sports event and should therefore pay toward the sport that allowed them to earn money.